With a history of travelling all around the world to chase his passion for hospitality, it’s no surprise that Andrea Mastellone declares himself a natural hotelier. “I was born into the hotel industry,” he says. Since his appointment to Senior Group General Manager three years ago, the seasoned Italian hotelier has been aggressively growing the Seda Hotels brand across the Philippines. Andrea credits “hard work” for his promotion as well as this piece of advice: “Good leadership must drive for results.”
Guided by the company vision to create a brand that truly represents Filipino hospitality, Seda Hotels has seen its domestic portfolio grow to 10 hotels, resorts and serviced apartments, with more in the pipeline across the destination.
“We have accomplished the company vision and we are on track with our roadmap as well as seeking new opportunities,” Andrea says. “Our growth is exponential in terms of properties as well as brand recognition.” He adds that the group is continuously seeking to improve its value proposition and evolving to create products and services to exceed the expectations of domestic and international travellers.
Andrea holds several qualifications in hotel management from prestigious European institutions, and has taken courses with Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and the University of Hong Kong. Recently he was awarded the ‘Certified Hotel Administrator’ title by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
When asked what he most enjoys about the hotel industry, Andrea pauses before answering: “There’s no one answer. I enjoy too many things. Hotels are a ‘people business’. It’s an industry managed by people providing services to people. It gives you a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and travel.
It’s never boring. No two days are the same. You meet amazingly passionate colleagues and guests from all walks of life. Friendships made in this industry last forever. That’s why I’m still here. I’m still finding out why I’m doing it.”
Before arriving in the Philippines, Andrea worked across many countries, including Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, the Caribbean, Fiji, India, Hong Kong and the United States. He has been General Manager for various hotel groups, including some of the most prestigious brands in the world.
Seven years ago, the first Seda hotel, the Seda BGC, opened to fill a gap between luxury and budget hotels. The property offered a modern facility with efficient service and an attractive value proposition, but most of all providing an excellent customer experience with products and services inspired by renewed Filipino hospitality. Proving to be successful, Seda expanded to develop more prominent hotels and different products such as resorts.
In 2017, it opened Seda Vertis North, with 438 rooms and a 700-person ballroom, in Quezon City. In August 2018, it rebranded the 301-room Cebu Marriott Hotel as the Seda Ayala Center and opened its first resort, the Seda Lio in El Nido. In July this year, Seda debuted its serviced residences in Makati. Seda has more hotels under development and expansion, some launching within the next year or two.
Describing Seda Hotels as a “combination of the true Filipino hospitality with a high level of efficiency”, Andrea says the goal is to create a truly Filipino-inspired brand where guests can experience exceptional hospitality together with highly efficient services, in the best locations and with a balanced price range that reflects the right value for money.
With its strong focus on exceptional service, Seda was the first brand in Asia to receive the Guest Service Gold Certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. All employees and security staff across the chain are similarly certified by the Institute. Seda’s General Managers and other top executives are constantly provided with the highest level of training and specialised courses.
“Leadership is about passion and contribution. Passion is contagious, and contribution allows you to continuously learn and share ideas,” says Andrea. “My style of leadership is, ‘If we jump, we jump together.’” He recognises that for success to flourish, companies need to create a suitable environment.
“The company needs to take good care of its people, provide them with opportunities for growth and recognise that they are the most important asset for the company. The result of our efforts was shown in a recent global survey where the staff appreciation score was above 93%.”
“My style of leadership is, ‘if we jump, we jump together.’”
He adds, “Success comes from encompassing passion, hard work, determination and ensuring that the people around you believe in the project and work towards it.” Andrea firmly believes that to provide exceptional service and memorable experiences, the staff need to be happy with their workplace and colleagues, and proud to be associated with the brand.
“We are amazed by the amount of people that want to be part of our journey, the journey of the Seda story.”
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